Found in Translation

Photo of Lindsey JamesLindsey James came to Carolina to get her PhD in 2005 and never left.

Eighteen years later the chemist runs a lab in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy exploring medicinal chemistry and epigenetics with the goal of making strides in cancer care and treatment. It’s a method of research defined as translational — bridging the gap between promising early-stage science and the development of products and services that benefit society.

James and her team develop small molecules that target specific proteins believed to play roles in the development of cancers. These small-molecule tools could be useful against an array of cancers.

The continuous development of new molecules requires funding and resources. This part of project development diverts time and energy from conducting the research itself. Grant writing and editing along with back-and-forth communications with funding agencies can take months, even years.

James has found great success in internal Carolina grants, built to reduce the struggle in obtaining funds to advance research. She has secured funding and support from multiple other research translation resources at Carolina, all the while receiving support and guidance from AdvanTx, an initiative to advance therapeutics research from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

While James currently has two major National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants that sustain her work, these additional Carolina resources have given her a break from applying for more federal funding.

“The research space I’m in is competitive,” James said. “I was worried that if I only focused on securing NIH funding then I may lose my window of discovery because it takes a long time for NIH grants to get reviewed, approved and funded.”

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